I have two daughters and one thing I’ve always told them is to not give in to the “If you love me, you will…” line. Know your boundaries, where you stand on certain activities and behaviors and don’t let anyone pressure you into doing something you know you shouldn’t.
This, of course, is based on the idea that people will take advantage of them with this line and the things they ask be done will be wrong and hurt them in the long run.
The removal of the word “obey” from marriage vows follows this thinking. We may believe that if we say we will obey, our spouse will take advantage of that vow and expect us to do things we don’t want to do. They will use it to manipulate, control and guilt us into giving up our dreams, desires and freedom for them. They will simply boss us around, expect us to work and they will take it easy.
Yet, we marry them anyway.
Think about that! We don’t want to obey because we don’t trust that they truly care enough about us to not misuse this vow and yet we are willing to spend the rest of our life with them and raise children together.
With this warped sense of trust, love and obedience, is there any wonder so many marriages end in divorce? The truth is people do sometimes take advantage of others, even spouses. We hurt each other because we are at some level selfish even when we love.
So whose love can we trust?
Jesus, of all people, uses this line.
“If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth… He who does not love me will not obey my teaching.” John 14:15-17a, 24a
He not only uses this line but combines it with the word “obey”. You will do what I say because of your love for me. Why?
When we obey, we walk with God. When we obey Jesus, we follow God’s lead in our life. He gives us His Spirit of truth who will never lead us to do anything outside of God’s will. He never takes advantage of our love because He helps us in all He asks us to do.
If we say we love Him but won’t go where He goes, do we really love Him? Maybe we just like the idea of Him.
God has loved you before you have ever chosen to love Him and He shows His love through His Son, Jesus, and the shedding of His blood. The only way we can go where He goes, do what He does and be with Him is to follow His lead.
We don’t earn His love in obedience; we follow because of our love for Him. He leads us in truth and His is truly a love we can trust.
Something to Consider…
If you knew someone’s instruction would save your life, would you listen to them? Would you obey and do what they say?
Jesus, God’s Word, saves and gives life. He has overcome the world and anyone who loves Him and follows overcomes as well. Is there an area of your life where you are seeking guidance and direction? Ask God to lead you His way and choose to do what He says because you love Him and trust His love for you.